A 35-year-old man from Southend has been sentenced to 3 years in prison at South Essex Magistrates Court after he was found guilty of repeatedly abusing the salad bar at his local Harvester restaurant.
According to the restaurant chain, Harvey Fringe of Fairfax Drive visited the Southend branch of the popular restaurant on ‘174 separate occasions’ in 2015, and bosses estimated that every visit led them to a £30 loss in terms of potato salad, bread rolls, pickled cabbage and hard boiled eggs.’
Marvin Hankton, prosecuting, said: ‘Staff at the Southend branch became suspicious when Mr Fringe kept visiting the restaurant with a suitcase, and CCTV footage confirmed that often he would order the cheapest main course that would grant him full and unhindered access to the salad bar.’
‘He pulled it around constantly, telling members of staff that it contained his oxygen tank, but upon closer inspection it emerged that he had an elaborate wheeled setup including a funnel, tube and partition system that led to a number of different Tupperware containers.
‘Our private investigators then observed him driving back to his delicatessen on Southend High Street and selling artisan salad boxes for £2.99 to local students.’
Catering forensics investigator Dr Harold Tabbouleh, who testified during the four-week trial, added some key facts.
He said: ‘The branch was closed down for two weeks so we could complete our analysis, and we noticed that the restaurant’s sweetcorn depletion to sales revenue (SDSR) ratio was incredibly high compared to the rest of the chain’s restaurants.’
‘This verdict sends out a clear message that salad bar and buffet abuse will no longer be tolerated in British society.’
‘Only in 21st Century Essex would a man think that it is acceptable to take your own body weight in crispy onion bits and vinaigrette dressing.’